Caught this one some time ago a couple of weeks after ice out. This is a third year fish in our neck of the woods. Always good fishing at the beginning before they are taken out. I wish more fishers would let them go. Now it is too hot for safe C&R
I have great hopes for this fly as soon our lakes open. The body is a piece of plastic Q Tip handle. Should float like a cork! I'll make a larger version for Bass.
Water is still a bit warm for C&R so I'm not taking pictures of the fish. It is possible to encourage long line releases by not setting the hook and letting the line go slack. I managed that four times the other day but two had to be let off at the tube quickly.
This is my new version of the Orange Hammills. It allows an inline arrangement and less tangling. Worked well and caught fish. Orange certainly seems attractive especially to Brook Trout.
Splake stocking was developed in Ontario and elsewhere to compliment the sagging Lake Trout populations. A blend of Brook Trout and Lake Trout, they are marginally reproductive. They tend to grow faster than either of their progenitors. Not sure how long they live but they get big.
Literature says they are easier to catch than other salmonids but howcum I couldn't catch them at my local splake lake for 20 years! (expect once).
Like Lake Trout they like to live and feed deep, mostly on other fish. But now that the water has cooled off and winter is near, they are in shallower water and can be caught with flies.
The PQuad was my most successful last outing bringing four. One by Yellow HK and one by Light Olive Coney Leech (which moves much like a fish). You still have to go deep and hug the bottom around 25ft.
Lost a big one so I'm going back!
I've been out a few times trout hunting since the last post. With a warm spell the surface temp (ST) went back up to 75C on some of the lakes. Yesterday I was out again and the ST dropped again to 67F. It was cold out there! My first day shivering on the water since early Spring. Although one first year trout went belly up. I paddled float tube as quickly as I could with its head facing the incoming water. It was pretty healthy in that I struggled to keep it from swimming away. I would let it go, it would swim down for awhile but then come back to the surface. In my discussions with fish biologists, I have come to the conclusion that trout are a bit more hardy than I previously thought. It is still worth the effort. They just might survive. I left it for awhile and eventually it swam away. Here's hoping.
Why would I make the effort? Well, shortly later I caught the one above, about 17-18". This was the only picture I could get before he was off the hook (I didn't bring the net). This is likely the same fish I caught this Spring, only an inch or two longer. In a lake this small, this close to Ottawa, there are not likely that many this size. Release a fish and you can catch it again.
On one of my previous trips to this lake, there was a family fishing as well (nice to see: Mom, Dad and teenage daughter). They kept five fish. I tried all suggestions possible to dissuade them: Did you know these fish have tape worms? They taste lousy from all the leaches they eat. Tastier trout in a neighbouring lake.....Who knows, maybe they got the message. I suspect this fish is a bit smarter, not likely to get fooled by spinners and probably hit the dust as soon as the tinny was on the water. Fishing from a tube, I am reminded just how noisy tinnies are!
Best fly was the Muncher which can be seen on the Fly Pattern section of this blog.
I saw only three rises in four hours and only one boatman flying off. It should get good soon. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately I am headed off to Trout Heaven next Thursday. Look for reports of fishing from the Manitoba Parklands soon.
Surface temps in our Calabogie lakes is 67-69F. That is safe enough for Catch and Release fishing. And also the fish will come to the surface for bugs and your flies! The above brookie was caught on an emerging midge which was just below the surface.
At another lake, I caught a rainbow down deep with a Coney Leech. It really should be called a Minky Leech as I had tied it with longer mink fur. Mink has more action then rabbit. My cats also like the strip of fur as I find it in all sorts of places in the house.
My favorite rainbow lake has been recently invaded by pumpkinseed. With MNR's approval I am removing as many as I can catch. I have a wet bag and I put them in and take them home for the raccoons. It is OK fishing with the 3wt. This winter I shall make a 1 wt fly rod to continue my ethnic cleansing in style. Please do the same. Many readers of this blog know what lake I am talking about. It is one of the OFS's adopted lakes in which we did supplementary stocking a few years back.
Even though Spring was late, Summer is coming early for trout fishing. I've been taking advantage of some free time from work and pretty good weather to get in as much trout fishing as I can before the water temperature rises to dangerous levels for Catch and Release.
At my favorite little Brook Trout lake, the surface temp (ST) is already 75F (I like Imperial measures....more human, I leave CGS to laboratories). According to Crossman's Fish of Canada, the textbook most biologists are forced to buy at $120 states that 75F is fatal to Rainbows. Browns can take a bit higher but same for Brookies. Our technical advisers from Carleton U. say that 75F is not actually fatal. The fish can take a bit of time of it but they will avoid water at that temperature if they can. We have had fish go belly up being brought in at ST70F. The surface temperature usually goes down 5-10 ft before slowly getting cooler. At 20ft down, it can be dramatically cooler.
The ideal temperature for trout feeding is 55F-65F. Many experienced trout fishers who practice C&R, move off trout waters at 68F, Bill Spicer for one. Three of my Rainbow lakes are already at 66F.
The issue is the trout's ability to get O2 out of the water at these temperatures. Try struggling in the water with a hook in your mouth while holding your breath and you get an idea of what the trout is going through.
So to avoid this area of the lake, the trout will hang out in 25-35 feet of water for most of the day time. 25 ft is the deepest plants survive and that is where the trout food is likely to be. According to the information I've received from these advisers, the next issue is baratrauma. Trout coming up quickly from 30 ft will suffer the human equivalent of Bends. Some believe that Lake Trout have a release valve for this, other experts are not so sure. But our sport fish of Rainbows, Brook Trout and Browns do not have this ability. So when we do our summer fishing with our full sink lines down at 20 to 30 feet we could be subjecting our trout to this who will come up pretty fast to shake that hook (which they can only do by jumping in the air), then hit that oxygen depleted water, well I'm sure you get the picture.
In the Ottawa area, we don't have cold mountain trout lakes but not to despair. Pike and walleye are open and Bass will soon be and so will Musky, the new target of flycasters. I can't wait to get my winter made 10wt rod into action.
If you still want to catch the remaining couple of weeks for trout, get him in real quick, don't net, just run your hand down the line and flick that hook out. No time for pictures. Otherwise, you may be taking something home. Our lakes aren't well enough stocked for too much harvest which unfortunately is the case.
I took a chance on the weather and went to my favorite little Rainbow Lake in the Calabogie area. The fish are not big here as the lake is relatively small but usually plentiful. And they can be caught on flies. Trout are almost always on the surface so one can use dry flies as well. It is so good a fly fishing lake that the OFS adopted it and did some additional stocking a few years back.
There is an axiom in flyfishing: Don't leave fish to find fish. You can adapt that also to mean, don't go to another lake when you catching at the lake you are on or last on.
There were plenty of mosquitoes at the launch but I had prepared my rods in advance so I skooted into the lake toute suite. Right away I got action on my usual combo of White Phentex Humpy and a chironomid point fly on a long leader. This time I had on an epoxy green buzzer. I got five takes on that plus a couple on the Humpy. Didn't land any but that's OK.
When I picked up an emerging midge, I saw that it was brown with tan stripes so I put on a brown chironomid and landed one on it.
On the wet rig: #4 sink with a Black Coney Leech as the dropper and a PT Nymph at the point after I noticed a single mayfly floating by. Got a nice 2nd year fish (like the one above) right away. Here is the Coney Leech I keep talking about.
I got three on the Coney Leech. I did a throat pump on one of the fish and noticed zoo-plankton or tiny scuds. I then put on a Blob. I've never fished a Blob before but that is what you use when they are feeding on these tiny critters. I can see why Britain wants to ban them. I had tension on my line but a 3rd year RB swallowed it deep. Fortunately I was able to get it out without damage. I didn't take a pic of the trout as I wanted it back in the water as soon as possible. Here is a picture of a Blob in case you haven't seen one. Mine got wrecked in removal. And it is not nearly as good looking at this one. You need to get the special chenille from Britain.
Got lots of hits. This lake is famous (infamous rather) for fish that nibble but don't take. Also got one on a Mrs Simpson.
All in all I hooked about ten fish today in five hours of fishing. That is not bad in a lake so close to civilization and 45 minutes from home!
45 minutes from my house in Pakenham, I have access to several small brook trout lakes. I find that rather nice being so close to the 4th largest urban area in Canada. There are not many larger fish in the lake as it is fished quite a bit. When I arrived a worm fisher had taken out a "one pound" fish. I wouldn't eat fish out of a lake like this because they eat so many leeches. A friend did that once a few years ago and he reported the flesh to be whitish and mushy. The other reason is already stated and that there aren't many, so why would a person do this? The good news is that the otter did not eat all of them. There were many of recent stockers jumping. It is curious to me why this lake is the only one that has so much surface action. This third year fish was taken on a white phentex humpy. I also got action on a dropped chironomid off the humpy. There were a few boatman and many midges on the surface but no shucks so the hatch was some time ago. It did not appear as there would be one today even by 3PM.
Every lake is different. On my last report I was at a brook trout lake with the surface alive with boatman and backswimmers but not a single rise in the three hours we were there. At this lake, there were less bugs on the surface but fish jumping everywhere and they stock the other lake with much greater numbers of fish!
I didn't use my boatman patterns because my Muncher fly works so well as well as my white phentex humpy. Both have similarities to boatman/backswimmers.
I did something different that I haven't done for years and that is putting two leaders off of the fly line hoop. One with two feet of mono and the humpy, the second with 12 feet of fluro and the Muncher. The recent stockers are not so proficient in taking the dries but pretty good with the nymph! Of course I was after 2nd year fish or older. I got this one in and had two other big rises. I'm pleased that there are still some older fish in this favorite lake of mine. I don't understand why other fishers just don't get it. If you take all the fish out, you have lousy fishing and not much in the pan either. This is a very small lake and so a fish this size is pretty good. I have got larger ones but rarely.
The otter is still there. I'm going to ask OMNR if they will trap it. There are other more drastic measures that could be taken as well.